A tremendous, down to the wire duel ended with Jason Swavely winning his first-ever 600cc main event on Saturday night at Lanco’s Clyde Martin Memorial Speedway.
Swavely, from Douglassville, Pa., nipped Jared Esh by 0.062-seconds – about two feet, if that – to snare the victory. Approximately 20 minutes later, Kutztown’s Jarid Kunkle fought off a determined bid by Kyle Spence, then held off Mike Rutherford and Ken Miller to win his second consecutive 270cc feature.
Others visiting the winner’s circle on Saturday included Darren Miller (125cc), Dave Ravel (250cc Four-Stroke), and Curtis R. Miller (Sportsman).
Jared Esh, from Millersville, threw a slide job on recent high school grad Nathan Prazenica to grab the early lead in the 600cc headliner. It wasn’t long before Rutherford, Swavely, and three-time winner James Morris (who started eighth, tenth, and 12th, respectively) were making their presence known as they battled one another while maneuvering into the top six positions. Morris, unfortunately, suffered a broken hub on his steering wheel, knocking him out of the event with six tours complete.
When a caution period slowed the pace with ten circuits scored, Rutherford sat in second and Swavely was up to third and on the ensuing restart, the fun began in earnest.
Rutherford and Esh traded slide jobs at both ends of the race track for a few laps until Esh re-established control of the top spot. It was then Swavely’s turn to engage Rutherford in a tussle for the runner-up position, with Swavely securing that spot and almost sliding under Esh to take the lead at the same time.
Esh encountered heavy lapped traffic as the 25-lapper neared its conclusion, with Swavely anxiously waiting for his opportunity to strike. Both drivers had to be aggressive in dealing with the lapped cars; Esh knew Swavely would pounce if he hesitated in traffic while Swavely had no choice but to make some daring moves around the lapped cars in order to keep pace with the leader.
As they headed for the white flag, Swavely got under Esh as the leader caught a rut in turn four and veered up the banking just enough to permit Swavely to cut under him. Screaming back into turn one, Esh threw a slider on his rival and regained the point as they blasted onto the back chute. Setting up for three and four for the final time, Swavely made a bonzai run under Esh. They came off four in side-by-side fashion, and Swavely (barely) won the drag race to the stripe, taking the checkered by less than half a carlength over Esh.
Rutherford chased them to the finish, with Chris Gerhart and Chris Panczner rounding out the top five.
“This is one of the first races I’ve ever run without my parents being here at the track,” noted Swavely in victory lane. “I wish they could have seen this because I couldn’t do it without their support. The car was fantastic tonight and we needed this because I’ve flipped it and had all sorts of trouble the last few weeks. To win one, especially a race like that, feels awesome!”
With 27 of the 600cc Micro-Sprints in the pit area on Saturday, three qualifying heats were run. The victories went to Swavely, Morris, and Rutherford. Hank Stellar was declared the consolation victor when only six cars showed up on the grid. Since all six would qualify, the consi was checkered immediately.
Jarid Kunkle started fourth in the 270cc feature and quickly worked his way up to second. He went low in turns three and four on the seventh trip around the clay, wrestling the lead away from Ronald Helmick after Helmick set the pace for the first six revolutions.
Kunkle set sail in the middle stages of the 25-lapper, but business really picked up on a restart with six to go. Kyle Spence, the Memorial Day Open winner, passed Nick Skias to secure the runner-up position and on that restart with 19 complete, Spence began his assault on the leader. The duo ran side-by-side for the next four tours, with each driver taking turns at sticking the nose of his car in front of the other. Behind them, Mike Rutherford and Ken Miller waged a terrific battle for third.
Spence’s night would end with two to go, as the sprocket on his No. 25k broke while he was still running neck and neck with Kunkle. He stopped on the track, bringing out the final yellow flag of the event.
On the restart, Kunkle got away by a few carlengths as Miller and Rutherford continued their torrid duel. Rutherford finally cleared Miller’s No. 74f and made one last, futile attempt to dive under Kunkle in one and two, but Kunkle was too strong, and he pulled ahead as they hit the backstretch. At the finish, his margin of victory was 0.277-seconds over Rutherford, with Miller (who started 15th) close behind in third. Bradley Brown (started 19th) rallied for fourth place money and Nick Sweigart wound up fifth.
Another banner field of 35 signed in for 270cc competition on Saturday. Heat race triumphs went to Rutherford, Helmick, Nick Skias, and Kunkle. Twin consolations were taken by Austin Bishop and Dave Grube.
On Friday night, June 13, Darren Miller graduated from Donegal High School. The next evening, Miller slipped underneath Dave Grube in the first corner, then accelerated off turn two with the lead on lap 19. Miller, from Mount Joy, raced to his third win of the season over Grube, Dylan Adams, Jas Hehnly, and Chase Gutshall.
Miller and Adams won heat races for the 19 racers who entered Saturday’s 125cc action.
It was a popular triumph for Reading’s Dave Ravel in the 250cc Four-Stroke Class, as it was the first career win for his car owner, Earl Eveland. Ravel, who put together a new Four-Stroke powerplant in the past two weeks, used his new found horsepower to pass Kenny Miller III just past the halfway point of the 25-lap main.
Ravel went on to record the triumph, beating K. Miller to the line by a little more than three-quarters of a second. Donna Geib finished third and Eddie Nocera was fourth, with rookie Kassidy Michael registering another fifth-place effort.
The Weld Racing Fast Lap of the feature, contested by the Four-Stroke division on Saturday, was also claimed by Ravel. He turned the quickest lap of the race at 11.837-seconds.
K. Miller III and Ravel won heat races for the dozen Four-Strokes who took part in Saturday’s program.
Eighth-starting Curtis R. Miller, from Mertztown, captured his second victory of the 2014 season in the 25-lapper for the Sportsman Micros.
Miller passed Anthony Yerger for second on a lap nine restart, then hounded race leader Kerry Lengle for three circuits before snatching the top spot from Lengle on another restart just one lap prior to the halfway mark of the event.
Miller romped to the win, beating Lengle to the stripe by 1.160-seconds. Yerger held on for third, with Ava Bellinger and Toby Blumenshine completing the top five.
Miller and Jason Rhoads won the two heats run for the 20 Sportsman cars who entered the night’s activities.
This Saturday, June 21, is the first televised event of the season. Blue Ridge Cable 11, out of Ephrata, will be on hand to record the five feature races in the first of seven programs scheduled for broadcast in 2014. This week’s features will be shown on Sunday, June 22nd, and again during the upcoming week. Check local listings for exact dates and broadcast times.
The five weekly divisions will take part in the televised production, as the 600cc, 270cc, 125cc, Sportsman, and 250cc Four-Strokes compete in qualifying heats, consolations, and 25-lap feature races.
This week’s running order is as follows: Four-Strokes, Sportsman, 125cc, 270cc, and 600cc. That will be the rotation for warm-ups, heat races, and features.
Gates open at 3:30 with warm-ups scheduled to begin at 5 p.m. The first heat race goes green at 6:00.
Adult general admission is just $8.00, with discounts for Senior Citizens and Students. Youth between the ages of six and 12 are admitted for only $2.00, and children under the age of six are free. And parking is always free at the Clyde!
600cc Micro-Sprint Feature, 25 laps: 1.Jason Swavely, 2.Jared Esh, 3.Mike Rutherford, 4.Chris Gerhart, 5.Chris Panczner, 6.Dan Souder, 7.Shaun Brandel, 8.Nate Prazenica, 9.Brent Ely, 10.Mike Freed, 11.Heath Hehnly, 12.Ryan Hook, 13.Sammy LaMothe, 14.Mike Coen, 15.Jered Hook, 16.Zachary Light, 17.Rebecca LaMothe, 18.Taylor Troxel, 19.Brittany Brown, 20.Bret Cronrath, 21.Devin Gundrum, 22.Austin Bishop, 23.Hank Steller, 24.James Morris.
DNQ: Dylan Binkley, Jason Sechrist, Troy Musselman.
270cc Micro-Sprint Feature, 25 laps: 1.Jarid Kunkle, 2.Mike Rutherford, 3.Ken Miller, 4.Bradley Brown, 5.Nick Sweigart, 6.Ron Helmick, 7.Kenny Miller III, 8.Dan Lane Jr., 9.Cameron Bellinger, 10.Toby Blumenshine, 11.Damon Bomgardner, 12.Steve Drevicki, 13.Mike Urich, 14.Austin Bishop, 15.Tyler Ulrich, 16.Nate Weidman, 17.Charles Hellinger, 18.Kyle Spence, 19.Dave Grube, 20.Nick Skias, 21.Tim Gilbert, 22.Danny Braun Jr., 23.Josh Schaeffer, 24,.Billy Logeman.
DNQ: Cale Mutter, Dennis Fenstermacher, Elizabeth Helmick, Christi Sweigart, Heath Hehnly, Terry Ellex, Corey Schmuck Jr., Scott Rupp, John Davis, Matt Peachy, Mike Binkley.
125cc Micro-Sprint Feature, 25 laps: 1.Darren Miller, 2.Dave Grube, 3.Dylan Adams, 4.Jas Hehnly, 5.Chase Gutshall, 6.William Manotti V, 7.Kyle Hehnly, 8.Justin Harrington, 9.Matthew Donley, 10.Alexis Sheely, 11.James Wampole, 12.Brandon Gibble, 13.Scott Gantert, 14.Tajae Adams, 15.Thomas Kelley, 16.Walt Wampole, 17.Nick Sweigart, 18.Zack Hollinger, 19.Dustin Adams.
250cc Four-Stroke Micro-Sprint Feature, 25 laps: 1.Dave Ravel, 2.Kenny Miller III, 3.Donna Geib, 4.Eddie Nocera, 5.Kassidy Michael, 6.Devin Adams, 7.Ron Good, 8.Jarrett Imler, 9.Brian Kramer, 10.Lewis Kepple Jr., 11.Ronald Wechter, 12.Zachary Young.
Sportsman Micro-Sprint Feature, 25 laps: 1.Curtis R. Miller, 2.Kerry Lengle, 3.Anthony Yerger, 4.Ava Bellinger, 5.Toby Blumenshine, 6.Patrick Kirn, 7.Dave Kemp, 8.Brandon Mundis, 9.Megan Mercado, 10.Dennis Ziegler, 11.Brian Becker, 12.Jenna Heagy, 13.Jason Rhoads, 14.Steve Smith Sr.,, 15.Kim Minzer, 16.Bobby Shanaman, 17.Sami Schenck, 18.Brandon Bucher, 19.Randy Landis. DNS: Ken Miller.